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Kiss of the Vampire, 1962

From the DVD case: Lost on the way to their honeymoon, a young couple stumbles upon a mysterious family of vampires and their unspeakably evil leader.

A wrong turn leaves Marianne (Jennifer Daniel) and Gerald (Edward De Souza) stranded in a remote Bavarian forest where they have no choice but to accept the hospitality of the hypnotic Dr. Ravna (Noel Willman), distinguished lord of the local castle.

Ravna uses his “children” to lure the newlyweds to his lair, and soon, they are plunged into a nightmare of horror and deception from which there may be no escape. Their only hope is Professor Zimmer (Clifford Evans), who calls upon an ancient ritual in a desperate attempt to destroy the vampires and free Marianne from Ravna’s power. (1962, color)

Mark says: Sometimes referred to as the vampire version of The Lady Vanishes, this is a fine example of a Hammer Film Production. Even without the help of Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, or Director Terence Fisher, this movie proves to be both interesting and entertaining.

For a vampire film of its time, Kiss of the Vampire features many innovations. The “vampire cult” is used very literally here. Professor Zimmer (played wonderfully by The Curse of the Werewolf‘s Clifford Evans) even suggests that vampires have the ability to cure themselves by simply praying to God for absolution. However, many vampires refuse to do this because they see themselves as elites.

The vampires also do not seem to display any supernatural strengths. They struggle with mere humans the way any of us would. They can walk around in daylight, providing it is overcast, and they argue among themselves like men at a local union meeting.

Of course, the most unusual aspect of this film is it’s ending. Though I find the effects extremely hokey, I do give the film some credit for an original finale. It’s something that needs to be seen to be appreciated.

Kiss of the Vampire is directed by Don Sharp (Rasputin: The Mad Monk).

Scene to watch for: Marianne, under the influence of Dr. Ravna, spits cold-bloodedly in her husband’s face. Ick.

Line to listen for: “Drive on! Drive like the devil!”

Personal Note: Oddly enough, I first saw this movie while my wife and I were on our honeymoon. She was getting ready for lunch and I was watching the hotel television. I yelled, “Hey, there’s a Hammer Film on that I’ve never seen before!” She wasn’t nearly as impressed as I was.

Mark’s Rating: ! ! ! ½ out of 5.



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